We’ve all heard the saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” Well, Ellie and Rich have delivered a pair of short stories that will put a smile on even the most staunch curmudgeon’s face. Congratulations, and best of luck, to both authors.
Please read the following pair of stories then cast a vote for your favorite. The stories are shown without writer attribution to keep things as fair and unbiased as possible. The poll will be open until 6 PM on Wednesday, December 21st. At that time, a winner will be announced. The winner will be given a featured post on this blog on Monday, December 26th.
I’ve included the prompt below, with the stories to follow. The poll is located at the end of the second story. Thank you in advance for reading and voting for your favorite.
This is a prompt that a fellow writer friend gave me once, and I had a great time with it. I trust you will enjoy working with it, too: What if Jerry Seinfeld married Lady Gaga?
Give us a glimpse at what a “typical” afternoon inside their NYC apartment might look and sound like.
GG & Jerry’s Love Nest
I rubbed the sleepy from my eyes. Everything about the situation felt as wrong as the Easter bunny preaching a Christmas Eve sermon to the pilgrims. Three a.m. And no party or World of Warcraft character in sight. Like I said, wrong.
“Grab my coffee, willya?” Vanessa said as she carefully nestled another camera lens in her messenger bag. “And don’t forget to put sugar in it.”
I crossed my eyes at her. She flipped me the bird. I sighed. There wasn’t enough sugar in the world to sweeten that mood. She was always grouchy, but her 3 am temperament was as mean as a burr in the buttcrack.
I shook the sugar bag over her to-go mug and a few lumps fell in with a splash. “It’s an anonymous tip. Full of gibberish. Some dealer probably slipped it under our door when he was high, and only someone high can understand it.”
Vanessa perused the handwritten note that started this early morning madness. GG and Jerry S. 1609 Bluebird. Love nest.
“You’ve gotta jump on these things,” she said, almost to herself. “How far does it take to get to 1609 Bluebird Ave?”
“No traffic this early. It’ll probably take thirty-five minutes of dodging gang shootings and hooker fights. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” I dramatically lifted my espresso cup. “I feel like a kamikaze pilot, about to depart for his last mission.” I downed the cup, then spew it out—dang, hot as a volcano’s belch.
“I think they drink sake before their missions.” She said as I stuck my head in the fridge, shoveling ice onto my burnt tongue.
“It’s juth a picthure,” I lisped, tongue swelling.
“Just a picture? Just a picture?” Her voice rose an octave. “Just a picture?” I covered my ears. “HOW CAN YOU SAY IT’S JUST A PICTURE?” Her voice was so high I feared our windows might shatter. “It’s Lady Gaga and Jerry Seinfeld. A picture of them together would make my career. It’s what every paparazzi dreams of. It’s not just a picture. It could be a new life for us.” Her eyes glistened with tears, showing a passion she reserved only for her pap art.
“You sure are passionate about your pap art,” I said.
“Don’t call it that,” she growled, the tears disappeared, she put her bag around her shoulders.
“Why didn’t your eyes shine like that when I asked you to chronicle 72 hours in the life of a World of Warcraft warrior?”
She grabbed me by the scruff of my hoodie and hauled me out the door.
“Because this picture might actually make us money.”
“You mean we could actually afford socks again?” I asked through a mouthful of ice.
“With a picture like that, we not only could afford to buy socks, we could even turn the heater on.”
I pictured us basking in the warmth of the heater, our feet toasty in aloe-infused fuzzy socks. Green. I’d want mine to be green.
But no. I’ve had enough of her high-faluting ideas about paprazzi glory, I would not be taken captive by her words. My backbone was made of steel, figuratively speaking.
Jerking my hoodie out of her grip, I crossed my arms. “I’m not gonna be your pawn anymore. We’ll be trespassing; we could end up in jail. What’s in it for me?”
“Every decent paparazzi ends up in jail two or three or seven times,” she shrugged. “Part of the gig.”
Being in jail with thieves and drunkards and libelers and protestors and other paparazzi was not any gig I wanted to be a part of. My eyes narrowed. She softened. “Tell you what. We’ll stop at Taco Villa on the way there and pick you up a breakfast burrito.”
I couldn’t help but be pleased what my protest accomplished. I should protest more often. “Chorizo, egg, and cheese please.” I said, jumping in the car.
Forty-five minutes later I was regretting eating the greasy breakfast burrito as I climbed the trellis leading to 1609 Bluebird’s balcony. Vanessa had shoved a little camera in my hand, said it was best to split up, and then crawled over the six foot tall fence as if she were catwoman.
Catwoman. I wished I were at home playing Arkham City, fighting off Poison Ivy instead of fighting off real ivy. And climbing walls—so much easier to do in the virtual world. Not as much sweating and panting. What I needed was a utility belt, fully equipped with nano wire, grappling hooks, and heck … why not a mini gatling gun as well? Wearing that belt would make this laborious climb so much cooler.
“Oomph.” I fell onto the patio, and froze, expecting alarms to go off and lasers to flash and storm troopers to repel from helicopters. Okay, so storm troopers would be a little much, but it surprised me that things were as quiet as a wink.
I flipped to my stomach, said hi to the gritty sandstone, and army crawled up to the glass patio doors. Holding the camera above my head, pressing it against the glass, I gasped at the spectacle I saw below.
Two zulu warriors, muscles gleaming beneath their fierce war paint, hoisted Lady Gaga up in a stage flying harness. Arms wide, knee bent, toes pointed, neck stretched, she flew in fabulous arcs and graceful turns wearing nothing but a bra that looked to be made of cabbage and a skirt fashioned from muskrat fur.
Below her aerial dance moves, Jerry Seinfeld conducted business on a 3-D holographic computer screen, technology like I’ve never seen before. With a flick of his wrist then a turn of his thumb, he zoomed in on pictures of movie sets, signed official looking papers, highlighted photos of celebrities, and X’d out others. My mouth fell open when I saw him delete an article of Gwyneth Paltrow, say something to Lady Gaga, and at her reply he replaced it with a photo of Amy Adams SCUBA diving.
“Ooloo,” said a deep voice behind me.
I turned to see a bright flash of light. Then I knew no more.
I woke to find myself face first on a couch made of glass. Vanessa lay beside me, her eyes closed. Starting up, eyes wide, I did the only sane thing I could think of and screamed like a girl.
Vanessa woke, a deep frown on her face. Lady Gaga sauntered toward me, the muskrat tails on her skirt jiggling. Jerry Seinfeld covered his ears. And the zulu warriors started jumping up and down. I guess my scream had some rhythm to it.
“Shut up,” yelled Jerry.
“Shut up,” Vanessa shouted.
And then Lady Gaga slapped me across the cheek. I quieted, rubbing my face.
“I think you bruised my cheek,” I moaned.
“It’ll get better,” she said.
An alarm suddenly went off. My heart raced. Perhaps this was the time when the zulu warriors would spear me through. It all felt like a bad dream, and jail actually sounded good right now.
But the zulu warriors didn’t even shift from their stance.
Jerry’s eyes widened in panic, and Lady Gaga closed hers, as if concentrating deep inside herself. A photo of purple basketball shorts worn by a plasticky catwalk model flashed mid-air, framed in red. Vanessa and I exchanged a perplexed look.
“Louis Vuitton says he wants to get into athletic wear, but we’ve already authorized Armani for the spring.” Jerry typed on a 3-D keyboard, his fingers flashing. “We’ll have to bump Vuitton to the fall.”
“Tell him I want gingham yoga pants,” Gaga said, eyes suddenly snapping open. “I dream of gingham,” she purred. “It’s not just for tablecloths anymore. Hyinti!” She snapped at a zulu warrior. “Go tell Underhill to paint my convertable gingham.” Hyinti nodded and exited.
“Good call, GG. Good call,” Jerry said as he pressed send on the email. “Now Taylor Swift will have a show in Munich on the 10th, should I arrange that up and coming band, Swift Kick in the Posterior, to open for her?”
Gaga hummed a tune, swirling to the music in her head. “Yeah, I think that’s maroon. Do it.”
I pinched Vanessa on her cheek. She slapped me. Yep, it hurt. This was no dream. Gah! Was it some alternate reality that I’d been transported to by that bright flash? It had to be.
“Is this some alternate reality I’ve been transported to by that bright flash?” I asked. My voice echoed loud through the room.
Jerry nearly dropped his virtual keyboard. Gaga stopped swirling.
“No, dummy,” Vanessa said, ever gentle. “Don’t you see what’s happening here? They’re controlling the system. The Queen of Weird and King of Normal are in charge of the freakin’ media.” She pointed to newspapers, magazines, film posters around the room. “Everything you see has to pass by them.”
“You are wise for one so young,” Gaga said. “How old are you, forty-five?” she asked.
“Gah!” I interrupted, not wanting to hear any of that. “But what was that flash for? Is my brain swiped?”
“Oh,” Jerry said, combing his fingers through his thick dark hair. “That wipes your memory for four minutes. We need it for security. That, and GG’s warriors.”
“Hey, you called her GG,” Vanessa said, standing up.
Gaga bowed. “We are the ones who brought you here. We ask a favor.”
Vanessa’s mouth fell open. “You want a favor from us?”
Jerry Seinfeld laughed. “Don’t make it sound so stupid. You are paparazzi. You’re classic American journalism. You’re the only mag we can’t get to.”
My mouth fell open. I suddenly had more respect for Vanessa’s art.
“Which is why you’re the only voice I can trust,” Gaga said. Her eyes turned serious. She slowly turned a circle. “Do you think I should wear this to the next Grammy’s?”
I bit my lip, my brain running a hundred miles a minute.
Vanessa took a breath to answer when I lunged forward, covering her mouth with my hand.
“Give us a minute, willya?” I said, pulling a protesting Vanessa away from the surprised Gaga.
“What is it?” Vanessa hissed, eyes shooting sparks. But I was a man of steel, I had endured too much stress at 4:45 in the morning to go without my say.
“Listen, you have to tell Gaga that she needs to give us something in return.”
“Like what?” Vanessa spat. “Isn’t it enough we get to talk to her face to face?”
Visions of fuzzy socks and blasts of warm air flooded my mind. “No!” I said. “She needs to pay us for our fashion advice.”
Vanessa rolled her eyes and turned back to Gaga. “Give us a thirty and you’ll get our honest opinion.”
Gaga patted her muskrat skirt, but alas it had no pockets. She looked to Jerry for help, who patted his back pockets, then took out a roll of bills. Who keeps rolls of bills in their back pockets?
“I only have a $500,” he said.
“That’ll do,” I said quickly, running to him and snatching the fuzzy socks money from his fingers.
“Lady Gaga,” Vanessa said. “I believe the muskrat skirt is perfection, but if I were you I’d go with red cabbage instead of green.”
Lady Gaga hit her forehead with the palm of her hand. “Of course you are right.” She turned to Jerry. “See! I knew they’d tell me what I needed to hear.”
Vanessa and I exchanged a smile, and if I wasn’t mistaken she didn’t look crabby for that one second.
Then there was a flash of light.
And when the police found us huddled outside of an IHOP the next morning, all I could remember was something about a gingham convertible.
Mr. Gaga’s ‘Grade A’ Day
“No,” said Jerry Seinfeld, shaking his head for the third time.
“Look, it’s the last party we’ll be able to attend this year before I go back on tour. It’ll be a laugh,” pouted the young blonde with the regal New York Italian nose.
“Stefani,” began Jerry.
“Look, even you call me ‘Lady Gaga,’ she said, a flicker of annoyance crossing her overly made up features. “I don’t care if you can do the ‘pile driver.’ It’s who I am now.”
“Sorry babe,” said Jerry, his voice a bit whiney. “It’s just that, you know, it’s been done already.”
“Not together,” she said dismissively. “I have it all arranged. We are all set for the New Year’s Eve party at The Donald’s, then over to The Auction House for drinks and dancing. Last big headline of the year.”
Lady Gaga uncoiled herself from her cat-like position on the white leather couch. “I’m off to rehearsal. Be back at nine and we can go, okay sweetie?”
She walked with a sultry swagger over to where Jerry had be glaring out the window of their Park Avenue penthouse. Central Park always looked beautiful in its desolation this time of year. But Jerry wasn’t paying attention to the panoramic scene. He was looking at his reflection, imagining himself wearing….no. The thought was too horrible.
Lady Gaga kissed him on the check, put on her sunglasses and left.
* * *
The short, dumpy, bald butler handed Jerry his gin and tonic.
“Anything else, sir?”
“No, Costanza. That will do for now.”
“Can I interest sir in a Junior mint?”
Jerry sighed. “Please. Just leave me. I’ll ring if I need anything else.”
“Right you are sir.”
And the funny little man Lady Gaga had hired as their butler backed out of the room bowing incessantly.
For over an hour Jerry had been deciding what to do. He was used to his partner’s crazy publicity schemes, but this–her latest grab for headlines was the final straw. Back in the nineties, he’d been a comic of some fame and renown. Now he was Mr. Gaga. The copious amounts of wild sex had made it worth it for a while, to be sure. But now…
There was nothing left to do. He had to kill her.
The warmth of the gin and thoughts of murder were just having a nice calming effect on Jerry when the buzzer on the phone rang. He hit the speaker button.
“Mr. Seinfeld, sir,” came a harried, shrill voice of Lady Gaga’s assistant Elaine. “They are here for your fitting sir.”
He went to put his head in his hands and ended up slopping his drink all over himself
“I’m sorry sir, but Mistress insists,” even over the tinny little speaker Jerry could hear the reproach in her voice.
“It’s not you, it’s…never mind. Bring them up, Elaine.”
* * *
The door to the penthouse opened and Elaine, all hair and attitude, walked in with two men. The first was a tall, thin man with close cropped curly hair with an eighties porn moustache. The man behind him also had curly hair, but there the similarities ended. He was shorter; clean-shaven with glasses he supported a protuberant potbelly. This second man was dressed in white, wearing apron and wheeling what looked like a large cooler behind him.
“Mr. Seinfeld, can I have a word, please?” asked Elaine in a loud whisper.
The taller of the men looked annoyed, with the heavy set man all in white looked around at the large apartment appreciatively.
Jerry took a few steps away from the men, and before Elaine could say anything, he blurted out “Sorry for the fuck thing.”
“What? Oh, I don’t care about that,” she said dismissively. “I just wanted to warn you,” and Elaine leaned closer to Jerry.
“Warn me about what?”
“That’s Lorenzo Thomas. The best tailor in all of New York. He’s…eccentric. Be careful what you say to him.”
“Okaaaaaay,” drawled Jerry. “Who’s the other guy?”
“That’s Mr. Newman. He’s brought the…”material” for your new meat suit.”
* * *
“Now that looks WONDERFUL!” said the heavily accented tailor, applauding his own work.”
“A waste of four hundred dollars of prime meat,” snorted the fat butcher.
“Look…Newman,” snarled Jerry. “I don’t like this anymore than you do. If I had my way, we’d be barbequing this all up right now tossing it back with a few beers. Not letting this lunatic—“
Jerry had pointed at Lorenzo, forgetting Elaine’s comment about the tailor’s eccentricity.
“Lunatic!” he screamed in his heavy accent. “I am an artist! That’s it! No suit for you!!”
With that, the man ripped off the hanging meat that vaguely resembled a suit (a nice one –double-breasted with a pork tenderloin carnation) off the startled comedian and threw the pieces on the floor.
Newman, giggling like a prepubescent woman, and left the penthouse on the heels of the insulted tailor.
“Oh dear,” said Elaine. “Now what are we going to do? Mistress will be displeased–”
“I am not picking that up!” exclaimed a whiney voice from behind, making both Jerry and Elaine jump about two feet.
Costanza had come back into the sitting room with a tray of drinks that summarily clattered to the floor. He folded his arms.
“I’ve had it with this craziness. And I thought Steinbrenner was bad. You people are out of your minds! I—I—“ The little man closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Serenity now,” he murmured.
“Right,” said Jerry and Elaine slowly, looking at each other.
“Seriously, I’m done. I quit.”
“When Mistress finds out,” said Elaine, wringing her hands. “Well I don’t want to be—I quit too!”
Jerry looked from one disgruntled employee to the other.
“Quit? No…I have a better idea. A stupendous idea. An idea so cunning, that if Lex Luther came up with it, Superman would have been dead. And not just dead for a couple of issues then brought back to life. But really most sincerely dead.”
Both Costanza and Elaine looked at him as if he were mad.
“Come, my friends. Let me explain, but not here. I know a diner we can speak freely in…”
* * *
Kramer was alert in the lobby of the recording studio, his tall wiry frame squeezed into a small, orange over-stuffed chair that smelled of stale alcohol and bad decisions.
Every few seconds, he’d switch positions, staring around the foyer of the building, looking for trouble. As Lady Gaga’s personal bodyguard, there were always screaming fans to protect her from.
He wasn’t with her upstairs because the studio management wouldn’t let him in the building beyond the first few feet, insisting he do his ‘guarding’ from the lobby.
The tall man fell off his chair; cheap sunglasses sliding from his head and the ear-piece he’d been wearing fell to the floor , the other end of which was attached to nothing as he’d been forbidden a radio as well.
“Jerry! What the matter with you? Don’t sneak up on a guy; you could cause heart failure!”
Jerry approached the man as he picked up his sunglasses (now missing a lens) and the earpiece, shoving them both in his pocket. He spun as he stood.
“What are you doing, Kramer?”
“Just checking out the area. Never know when someone might sneak in. What are you doing here?”
“I’m here to see my wife, Kramer. She in her normal hall?”
“Yeah, but who are these two?” he asked, eyes narrowing looking at Elaine and Costanza.
“Staff,” Jerry said, a bit nervously. The three had hatched a plan and it was now or never.
“Oh, well, go on up then,” said Kramer with a big smile. His head bobbed a bit oddly and he fitted the sunglasses to his face apparently oblivious to the fact that a lens was still missing.
“Right, thanks a lot Kramer.”
The three made there way upstairs and stopped when the heard an acapella version of Bad Romance coming from the hallway.
“She might be crazy,” said Jerry. But boy can she sing. And the sex isn’t so bad either.” He was beginning to have second thoughts.
“Not bad at all, “ said Costanza.
“The sex was pretty good,” muttered Elaine.
Jerry turned to her. “What?”
“Nothing. Keep moving. We have a job to do.”
The trio kept moving and found lady Gaga with her backup singers finishing their song. There were obviously on a break. “Perfect,” thought Jerry.
Lady Gaga spotted them, and all the singers fell silent.
“Is the fitting over already? I thought you’d be at least another hour, sweets,” the pop star said, frowning.
“I’m not doing it. I’m not wearing a damn meat suit to a party. I’m not wearing it anywhere!” Blurted out Jerry before he could help himself.
“Oh. Is that so?” said Lady Gaga in the sweetest of voices. Always a danger sign.
“Yes, that’s so,” Jerry said and looked around at Elaine and Costanza who both nodded vigorously.
“And how cute. You found some friends to agree with you.”
“Well, I wanted to talk to you alone about it, can we go someplace to talk?”
“I don’t think so,” said Lady Gaga. She bent down, fumbled in an oversized Gucci purse for a moment and pulled out a silver revolver.
“Whoa!” said Jerry taking a step back. “It’s just that I’m a vegetarian! I’m happy to wear a cauliflower smoking jacket or an matzo ball tuxedo…”
“Nah. See Jerry, snookums, I’ve been trying to drive you over the edge for a month now. Been hoping I’d come home to find that you’d jumped off the balcony or run off with Elaine, here,” she said pointing the gun at Elaine, who tried to hide behind Jerry. “But you kept just being there. Day after day after day.”
“Wha—why didn’t you just leave?” stammered Jerry.
“What, and give you half my shit? No way. This will be easier. I own this studio and these people. Hell, most of them think you’re annoying anyway. They’ll be glad to help hide the bodies.”
“Bodies?” asked Elaine and Costanza at the same time.
“That’s right bodies. Time for the curtain to come down on the ‘show about nothing.’” Lady Gaga laughed, pointed the gun at Jerry…
* * *
“Aaaauuuuggghhhhh!” shouted Jerry Seinfeld sitting bolt right up in bed.
“S’matter honey?” asked a sleepy voice next to him. Jerry’s wife—his real wife—Jessica sat up as well.
“Uh…nothing, darling. Bad dream. Really bad dream. Go back to sleep.”
“Okay honey. You sure you’re okay?”
“Fine,” said Jerry as he lay back down. “Just a dream.”
They lay in bed for a few minutes. As Jerry drifted off to sleep, he heard his wife mumble:
“Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah! Roma-Roma-ma-ah! Gaga-ooh-la-la! Want your bad romance…”
Both wonderful stories and so different! I’m pretty familiar with these two writers, but I’m stumped as to who wrote which story!
Excellent job Ellie and RB!
Cheers, Eden! I’d tell you, but then Al and Ellie would have to kill me… 😉
Fun prompt, and I loved the Ellie’s take. To think, I was supposed to be ‘fighting’ her in the cage! LOL
Great job, Ellie and Rich! That’ was a tough prompt! I’m still laughing!
Great little clips. Very hard to pick just one.